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Children's and adults' realism in their event-recall confidence in responses to free recall and focused questions

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Two experiments examined the realism in the confidence of 8-9-year-olds, 12-13-year-olds and adults in their free recall and answers to focused questions after viewing a short video clip. A different video clip was shown in each experiment and the focused questions differed in difficulty. In both experiments the youngest age group, in contrast to the two other age groups, showed no overconfidence in their confidence judgements for the free recall. The free recall results also showed that the youngest group had lower completeness but similar correctness as the adults. There was a tendency, over both experiments, for the participants to show poorer realism for the focused questions than for the free recall, especially when questions with content already mentioned in the free recall were excluded from the analyses of the focused questions in Experiment 1. The study shows the importance of question format when evaluating the credibility of the confidence shown by 8-9-year-old children in their own testimony.
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Keywords: age; calibration; confidence; event memory; eyewitnesses; focused questions; free recall

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Lund University,

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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